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17 Loya Jirga delegates test positive for COVID-19

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(Last Updated On: August 8, 2020)

Afghanistan’s Ministry of Public Health on Saturday confirmed 17 Loya Jirga delegates had tested positive for COVID-19. 

According to officials, the delegates infected with the virus had not been allowed to enter the hall. 

Noorullah Taraki, deputy spokesman for the Ministry of Public Health, said the members of the Loya Jirga who tested positive have been taken to a COVID-19 treatment facility in Kabul. 

Critics meanwhile raised their voices on Friday over the apparent lack of adherence to health protocols by the delegates on Friday in a bid to prevent the spread of the virus.

It was clear that very few delegates wore face masks and no social distancing practices were followed as 3,200 delegates sat shoulder to shoulder in the hall. 

This comes after a Public Health Ministry report released last week indicated up to 10 million Afghans had been infected with coronavirus – which has had an enormous impact on the country’s already fragile health system and economy. 

The Jirga will decide on the fate of 400 Taliban prisoners and the way forward regarding intra-Afghan talks. 

Comprising tribal elders, community leaders and politicians, 3,200 people from around the country are attending the event. 

Chairing the Jirga is Abdullah Abdullah, Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation. 

He said Saturday on Twitter that Friday’s deliberations had continued late into the night but that a resolution would be announced on Saturday. 

We began the second working day of the Consultative Peace Jirga. Yesterday 33 out of 50 working committees of the #CPJ submitted their suggestions, which continued till late evening. Today, the remaining 17 committees will submit their suggestions.

The outcome of the committees suggestions on the release of 400 Taliban prisoners & other peace related issues will be announced today. The people of Afghanistan, & the international community looking forward for a positive, & constructive outcome to start the intra-Afghan talks.”

 

COVID-19

India’s COVID-19 caseload now over six million mark

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(Last Updated On: September 28, 2020)

India’s confirmed coronavirus tally has bypassed the six million mark with another 82,170 cases reported in the past 24 hours. 

The health ministry reported that the COVID-19 caseload was now at 6,074,703.

At least 1,039 deaths were also recorded in the same period, taking total fatalities up to 95,542.

New infections in India, the world’s second-most populous country, are currently being reported faster than anywhere else in the world and are expected to surpass the US tally, which is at 7.1 million, within the next few weeks. 

According to Johns Hopkins University data, almost one in every three new infections reported in the world and one in every five reported coronavirus deaths came from India.

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India’s COVID-19 infection tally now at 5.9 million

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(Last Updated On: September 27, 2020)

India’s coronavirus tally reached 5.9 million cases on Sunday after 88,600 new infections were recorded in a 24 hour period. 

The total number of cases is now at 5,992,532 public health ministry data showed. 

Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Tamil Nadu have reported the most new cases in the last 24 hours and together account for around 55 percent of the country’s new infections on Sunday.

Both Houses of Parliament adjourned last week due to the virus as over 20 MPs tested positive for the virus. 

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said India would help in vaccine production. 

Addressing the UN General Assembly, Modi said: “As the largest vaccine producing country of the world, I want to give one more assurance to the global community today.” 

“India’s vaccine production and delivery capacity will be used to help all humanity in fighting this crisis.” 

World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus meanwhile welcomed Modi’s assurance that India will use its vaccine production capacity in helping nations fight the pandemic. 

He said on Twitter: “Thank you for your commitment to solidarity .. Only together, by mobilizing our forces and resources jointly for the common good can we end the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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UN calls for global action against spread of COVID-19 misinformation

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(Last Updated On: September 24, 2020)

The United Nations and its partners have called on countries to take urgent action to address what they describe as the “infodemic” around the COVID-19 pandemic and put in place national action plans to promote science-based health information.

In a statement issued by the UN on Thursday, the organization said the pandemic is the first in history in which technology and social media are being used to both inform people and keep them connected but also to undermine global response to the crisis and jeopardize measures to contain the disease.

“WHO and partners are calling on all countries to put in place national action plans to promote science-based health information and to combat misinformation.

They also called on the media, tech companies, civil society, researchers and people everywhere to keep the infodemic from spreading”.

“Misinformation costs lives. Without the appropriate trust and correct information, diagnostic tests go unused, immunization campaigns (or campaigns to promote effective vaccines) will not meet their targets, and the virus will continue to thrive”, the partners said in a statement. 

“We call on Member States to develop and implement action plans to manage the infodemic by promoting the timely dissemination of accurate information, based on science and evidence, to all communities, and in particular high-risk groups; and preventing the spread, and combating, mis- and disinformation while respecting freedom of expression.” 

Authorities also were urged to empower communities to develop solutions and resilience against the infodemic. 

Stakeholders such as the media and social media platforms were called on to collaborate with the UN system, and each other, “to further strengthen their actions to disseminate accurate information and prevent the spread of mis- and disinformation.” 

 

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